Maite conducts a Peter David interview at New York Comic Con 2018.

At the 2018 New York Comic Con, ComicsVerse’s Maite Molina-Muñiz sat down with acclaimed writer Peter David to discuss his past works on classic characters such as Hulk and Spider-Man in addition to upcoming projects, including an episode of the highly anticipated third season of YOUNG JUSTICE.

ComicsVerse edited the following Peter David interview transcript for clarity.

ComicsVerse: Hey guys, I’m Maite, and I’m at New York Comic Con with the towns with Peter David, and you’re watching ComicsVerse.

ComicsVerse: You’ve written for so many prolific characters over your career from, you know, X-Factor, Spider-Man, Hulk, just to name a few. Of all those characters you’ve done, which has been the biggest influence on you as a person?

Peter David: None of them really have influenced me. It’s my job to influence the characters, to take bits and pieces of my personality and use them and channel them through the characters and make them entertaining. Certainly probably the one that was most biographical or autobiographical was the INCREDIBLE HULK because I was on him for so freaking long and I wound up exploring things that were going in my life through the Incredible Hulk.

ComicsVerse: I wanted to ask about that because you wrote HULK for 12 years, which is a pretty extensive period of time, but why did you stay on the character for so long? What drew you in to develop him for such a period of time?

Peter David: Well, the thing I liked about the Hulk was that the character was so malleable. I could do so many things with him, explore him from a deep psychological understanding. And also the thing that was an advantage was in those days I had access to sales figures, so if at any point I saw sales starting to drop, that was my cue to come up with something new and different to have happen to renew reader interest. That usually happened about every three to four years. So if you go back through my run on HULK, you’ll see this. Something really dramatic happened every three to four years.

ComicsVerse: One of my personal favorite stories that you’ve written and one of my favorite SPIDER-MAN stories is “The Death of Jean DeWolff.” But what’s your opinion on those events in comic books and when people resurrect characters pretty quickly and kind of mitigate the poignancy of those deaths?

Peter David: Well, I have to admit that even I have brought people back from the dead. Usually though very quickly and it was part of the story. Very rarely have I brought somebody back from the dead who was killed off by a previous writer and we have not seen for a good long time. But it is true the fact that I even had a character comment that in Heaven instead of pearly gates, they have revolving doors. And the concept of being brought back from the dead and brought back to life was even a major underpinning of my Ben Reilly comic in which I had a meetup with death, Jim Starlin’s death, and she told him that he had died more than anybody else in the universe and been brought back and it had an impact on his soul. I had her saying, you know, the human soul is not designed to come back from the dead, and if you keep coming back from the dead, very slowly, it has a negative influence on your soul.

Peter David: And she even warns him that if he ever comes back from the dead one more time, his soul will effectively shatter. So you know, I tried to play with the concept of coming back from the dead, but underscore that it does have genuine impact and consequences on the characters.

ComicsVerse: So, Peter, we’ve been talking about some of the iconic stuff you’ve done in the past. I want to talk about what you’ve been doing now. So tell me anything about what’s on this table here from YOUNG JUSTICE.

Peter David: Well, down there I have scripts from YOUNG JUSTICE, the animated series, which I wrote for in its first two seasons and yes I am writing for it in the third season. That was a question a lot of people were asking me and I finally got the clearance from Greg Weisman to go ahead and tell people that yes, I am onboard for that.

Peter David: Here’s the series called THE HIDDEN EARTH series. Did you know Australia was founded by criminals? It was used as a criminal colony. I basically came up with the concept that there’s an alternate reality adjacent to us where there are 12 races that are constantly at war with each other. And the Masters of the Realm get sick of these guys. So they decide to use Earth as Australia and they dump them all on earth where they proceed to wipe out 99% of Earth’s population and then go back to fighting with each other. And THE HIDDEN EARTH trilogy tells the story of the remnants of humanity and how they fight to get their planet back. And it is actual trilogy, you know, three books beginning, middle end. I will not be writing book 10, 15 years from now, you know. So I thought that nowadays, having a genuine trilogy would be a nice change of pace.

Peter David: Next to that we have ZORRO. Bold Venture Press has been reprinting all of the original Johnston McCulley ZORRO novels and short stories because Zorro did not originate in the movies, he originated in print. And they hired me to produce an original ZORRO novel to celebrate his 100th anniversary, which is what I was happy to do.

Peter David: THEY KEEP KILLING GLENN. A short story anthology that arose as a result of a panel at a Baltimore Science Fiction Convention that went wildly off the rails as we all came up with the ideas of killing off Glenn Hauman, one of the members of Crazy 8. And I stupidly suggested we do a trade collection of short stories called THEY KEEP KILLING GLENN. And they said, okay, you’re editing it. I went, “Wait. No, I was kidding.” And I wound up editing it.

Peter David: ALTERED STATES OF THE UNION is actually an anthology that Glen put together in which we have stories about various states in the United States, but they are different from what we are used to.

Peter David: My story involved an actual event in the 1950s when President Eisenhower was going to be making Alaska a state. And the governor of Texas kept pleading with him not to do so because then there would be a state bigger than Texas. And Eisenhower finally got sick of him and warned him that if he didn’t shut up, he was going to divide it into North Alaska and South Alaska. And then there would be two states bigger than Texas. And in our world, the governor took him seriously. In my story, the governor did not. And now we have north and South Alaska are at civil war with each other. And my story tells about a battle to the death across the plains of Alaska between the governor of North Alaska, Sarah Palin, and the governor of South Alaska, Donald Trump.

ComicsVerse: Back to the YOUNG JUSTICE script. Can you tell us anything about what you’re working on in season three?

Peter David: No. Number one, they’d kill me. Number two, they’d never hire me to work on it again. And number three, my head would explode.

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